07/09/2016 5:08PM

Faufiler shows class in winning Modesty Handicap


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – The impeccably bred 5-year-old mare Faufiler won the first graded stakes of her career, coming home strongly to beat Al’s Gal by 1 1/4 lengths in the Grade 3, $125,000 Modesty Handicap on Saturday at Arlington.

Secret Someone, the surprise pacesetter, held on for third and was followed home by No Fault of Mine, Marypop, Sequiota, and Smiling Gambler. Faufiler, the favorite, paid $5.40 to win and was timed in 1:56.12 for 1 3/16 miles on firm turf.

Faufiler was bred by the Niarchos family and is owned by their Flaxman Holdings Ltd., and as a daughter of the great stallion Galileo and the Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Six Perfections, she hardly could have a stronger pedigree. She raced nine times overseas and placed in a Group 3 before being imported to the U.S. last fall and turned over to trainer Graham Motion, finishing eighth in her two starts here last year.

But Faufiler has improved this season, and after closing mildly for fifth of 13 in the fast-paced, one-turn Just a Game at Belmont on June 11, she found her sweet spot Saturday.

“She needs firm ground, and I think she’s gotten better over here,” Motion said. “She’s pretty exciting.”

Secret Someone, who typically runs from the back of the pack, went to the front in the absence of any other pace and set slow fractions of 24.79 seconds, 50.66, and 1:15.99 as Al’s Gal raced second and Jose Valdivia Jr. kept Faufiler glued to the fence in the pocket.

“I watched her races,” Valdivia said. “Graham told me put her behind another horse, and she falls asleep like a French horse is taught to do. Actually, down the backside she saw a little daylight and started pulling, but she gave me the feeling that all I have to do is find her a line down the lane and she’d be there for me.”

Al’s Gal, coming out of 1 1/2-mile races, tried to accelerate from her tracking spot but couldn’t quite attain the pace of Faufiler.

“She quickened, the winner just quickened faster than her,” said jockey Corey Lanerie. “I felt him on my inside, and when [Secret Someone] quickened, I wasn’t quick enough to block the hole. She still stayed and finished really good.”

Faufiler ran her career record to 15-6-3-2, and now that she has attained a valuable first graded stakes win, her connections will consider a return trip to Arlington for the Grade 1 Beverly D. next month.

“We’d have to think about it,” Motion said. “She’s fairly lightly raced this year. With the pedigree she has, it would be extraordinary to win a Grade 1.”